She has sold more records than Nena, today “Maria Magdalena” singer Sandra is 60 years old. What is the pop star doing today?
How is Sandra? You know: the pop singer Sandra, who not even 37 years ago had a world hit that just couldn’t get out of your ears: “Maria Magdalena”. Who could forget?
This Sandra is doing great, not only because she is celebrating her 60th birthday on May 18th. “The 50” would be her preference, she said in a good mood to “Bild am Sonntag”. But actually she “doesn’t care at all. There is no difference between my 40th, 50th and 60th birthday. I also feel much younger.”
On her website she is whole again – sorry! – the old. There we see a Sandra in action – like before. Wild mane, black eyeliner like an enigmatic ancient Egyptian beauty, just like in the old days.
Comeback in Planung
Sandra also has news to announce: she is going on a US tour with Thomas Anders (59) and has performances in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston. This will be followed by shows in Madrid, Craiova (Romania), Bratislava (Slovakia), Dortmund and Düsseldorf. And she has “plans to release new music in the next year or two”.
She then addresses her fans in the neighboring country (on her website) in perfect French and clarifies that she has nothing to do with any revival festival in France. So she’s also a big thing in France. In fact, Sandra is a Franco-German star, holding a French passport because her father was French.
She was born as Sandra Ann Lauer in Saarbrücken, so you have a French attitude to life in your blood. For Sandra it was the great love of music. At the age of twelve she won a singing competition for children, and the music producer George Roman then recorded the single “Andy, my friend” with her, a declaration of love to a dog. The parents forbade more activities, pointing out that the child had to finish school first.
Sandra’s first volume: Breakthrough in Japan and Korea
But then at 16, after graduating from school, the time had come: Sandra became the lead singer of the girl group Arabesque, her predecessor had dropped out due to pregnancy. This band had a mega success that hardly anyone in Germany noticed. In Japan and Korea, up to 40,000 people celebrated their live shows, “in Germany there were maybe 30 at disco performances, half of whom still turned their backs on us,” Sandra later said.
In any case, the three girls from Arabesque have released 13 albums and 30 singles in Japan alone and sold seven million records. And in Germany – nothing! Sandra decided to leave Arabesque. “Then I canceled the contract and said I wanted to do something solo, in English. And then the girls laughed at me and said it wouldn’t work, you don’t leave a band, you’ll never be successful. And then came ‘ Maria Magdalena’, and that’s how I conquered the world,” Sandra recalled on NDR.
That was in 1985, Sandra was 23. She had fallen in love with Arabesque’s keyboardist, five years her senior, Michael Cretu (64), a highly talented musician with Romanian roots, who would later become a great composer and producer and also with greats like Peter Schilling (66), Nicki (55) or Juliane Werding (65) worked.
The big hit: “Maria Magdalena”
Michael Cretu wrote her the song “(I’ll never be) Maria Magdalena” with his buddy Hubert Kah (61), a star of the Neue Deutsche Welle (“Starry Sky”), with Hubert Kah singing in the background. The song is about a girl who cannot and does not want to become like Maria Magdalena.
The song became a hit in over 30 countries, including number one 20 times – just not in Germany. “Those on TV and radio didn’t want me,” said Sandra in the NDR interview. “But then in the summer German vacationers came back from Greece, Italy, France or Spain and had heard my song there. These vacationers drove the people in the music shops in Germany crazy and kept asking: ‘Where can you buy Maria Magdalena? ‘ Only then did I get TV shows, and then things really took off! Four weeks later I was also number one in Germany.”
It didn’t stop with this one hit. Sandra followed up with titles like “In The Heat Of The Night”, “Hi Hi Hi”, “Everlasting Love”, “Innocent Love”, “Loreen”, “Midnight Man” or “Hiroshima”. From 1985 to 1993 she was the star on television, radio and in “Bravo” and was therefore one of the most successful German pop artists.
What is less well known: Michael Cretu also launched the New Age project “Enigma” in 1990/91, a worldwide success, number one in 41 countries (e.g. in England). Sandra sang in the background too.
Sold more records than Nena
She has sold over 33 million records, which is significantly more than, for example, Nena (62) or Sarah Connor (41), but it seems to her that Germany has “forgotten” her, as she did on the talk show from on the occasion of her 50th birthday Markus Lanz (53) said.
Perhaps it was also because she, who had been married to Michael Cretu since 1988, became the mother of twins in 1995 and wanted to devote herself “completely” to her sons. When they fledged, Sandra went back to work. She was no longer able to build on the great successes in Germany, but in the East she filled the halls and stadiums. In Russia, Poland, Uzbekistan, Ukraine.
Her sons, who didn’t realize much that their mother was a big star, found that out at their English boarding school. There, their Russian classmates reverently said: “Your mother is more famous with us than Madonna!”
The marriage with Michael Cretu was divorced in 2008. In 2010 she married again, separation in 2014. She lived in seclusion in her house in Ibiza, where the “drunk Englishmen” and the many parties “were getting on her nerves”, as she revealed to “Stern” in 2018. Luckily she still has an apartment in Munich.